Community-focused social media engagement



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This study’s purpose is to better understand a local community members’ use of social media in relation to motivation and perception of connectivity through an online survey capturing information from community members. Research questions in this study explore the relationship between a local community’s motivations to use a community newspaper’s Facebook page and perceived connection to the community. Employing the uses and gratifications theory approach and four motives (social motivation, information seeking motivation, entertainment motivation, and past-time motivation), the study investigated the uses of a local community newspaper’s Facebook page among members of the community – both those that use the social media page and those that do not. In addition, the study examined the relationship between users’ intentions to return to the newspaper’s Facebook page and their perceptions of connection to community. Findings from the study shows a positive relationship with three motivations (social, information seeking, and entertainment) to use the Facebook page and users’ perceived connection to their community. This means those motivated to use the Facebook page for social, information seeking or entertainment motivations may have strong to moderate levels of perceived connections to their community. Additionally, the study found a direct relationship between strong perceptions of connection community and intentions to return to the Huntsville Item’s Facebook page, meaning the more perceived connection participants have to their community the more they will use the Facebook page. The practical implications of this study provide insight to community news organizations and community members on how social media can be a valuable tool in community engagement. The main theoretical implications of this study support the field of U&G theory by demonstrating the initiative of users based on their personal motives to use media.



Community newspaper, Social media, Uses and gratification, Motives